People across the country got higher electricity bills soon after unlock 1.0 in the month of June, with some consumers complaining about an increase of anywhere between three to fifteen times the usual levels.
People across the country got higher electricity bills soon after unlock 1.0 in the month of June, with some consumers complaining about an increase of anywhere between three to fifteen times the usual levels. In the months during lockdown, consumers’ electricity bill was estimated based on the average consumption in the few months preceding the lockdown; this was because the power distribution companies were not able to send employees to collect meter readings. This, in turn, meant that most of the consumers underpaid for April and May. However, the bills soared in June, as they also had taken the residual electricity amount into account.
“We have re-started physical meter reading which was temporarily halted since March because of Covid-19. Bills were generated on the lower side, being an average of the preceding three months (bills of December, January and February), which are winter months,” an Adani Electricity Mumbai Ltd (AEML) spokesperson said in a statement. Heat waves and the summer season in India have also aggravated the situation.
The situation is dire in many states with Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) alone receiving about 100,000 complaints regarding high bills received during the lockdown period. However, some establishments which lay vacant during lockdown have also received higher bills.
Following the complaints from many consumers, electricity companies issued elaborate statements and created guides to help consumers understand their bills. “Please appreciate that COVID 19 and the lockdown across the country has altered our lifestyle significantly. For the period of 91 days for which the bills are being sent out, the family remained inside home for all 24 hrs. Tata Power would like the consumers to look for such lifestyle changes while reflecting over the last 3 months of lockdown and compare it with lifestyle pre lockdown or last year’s same months,” Tata Power said in a statement on 22 June.
Meanwhile, in the wake of high bills and rising complaints, Maharashtra authorities have asked companies to provide the option of letting users pay in monthly installments. It has also directed them to offer a 2% discount to those paying the entire amount on time, CNBC TV-18 reported.